Saturday, August 07, 2010

Emily Henochowicz Update

Saturday evening, and may this note find you well! Thanks David (Unitarian Universalist Just Peace Task Force, Bloomington, IN for sharing this information.

May we find peace within our hearts and expresses it in our thoughts, words and deeds!

Namaste and POI,

Green Dove


Emily Henochowicz is the Jewish American college exchange student in Israel whose lost her left eye after being struck by an Israeli tear gas canister fired directly at her face while she and others were protesting the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla.

Emily makes reference to the violence that the Israeli military is known to use against demonstrators in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (she had thought that under the circumstances the military would behave more like it does during protests in "Israel proper"). The world rarely hears about Israeli violence against peaceful demonstrators unless an international is injured, but Palestinian demonstrators are wounded and killed in this fashion quite regularly. That is one reason Palestinians usually try to have internationals at their demonstrations, since the IDF feels much less constrained in its use of violence at an all-Palestinian demonstration, where they believe few will object to, or ever learn about, their brutality (and they are, unfortunately, correct).

Emily's grandparents are Holocaust survivors and her father was born in Israel and strongly supports the Israeli government. Emily mentions that because she is a couple of generations removed from the Holocaust she does not feel the same intensity of emotion regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, particularly fear, and is thus able to look at the situation more objectively than others in her family. She decided to try to learn more about the conflict and as a result began to join some of the demonstrations against the Wall and other abusive Israeli practices.

I think that in a nutshell is what many Zionists are feeling a lot of trepidation about these days: the younger generation of Jewish Americans is not so emotionally attached to Israel or the need for a Jewish state and is coming to its own clear-eyed conclusions about them.

Note also Emily's description of the kindness shown to her and other internationals by Palestinians, particularly the woman who risked her own safety to help Emily after she was struck in the eye. This woman's home is currently under a demolition order from the IDF because Palestinians are not allowed to build homes in areas of occupied Palestine desired by Israel for the exclusive use of Jews. Considering the way Palestinians and Muslims are portrayed by the media in this country, many people are surprised to find out how kind and gentle Palestinians are in reality, and how quietly and gracefully they bear their daily oppression. I strongly recommend that everyone who is able try to make a trip to the West Bank or Gaza Strip if possible; you will likely never view the conflict the same way again.


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